Dutch boost for Glasgow

Budget airline, easyJet, is to follow KLM’s example by adding a new route from the UK to the capital of Holland, Amsterdam. However, while the Dutch carrier focused on bringing Durham Tees Valley and Aberdeen airports closer to the continent, easyJet will expand its schedules in Scotland’s second city, Glasgow, by an extra seven flights per week.

Hugh Aitken, easyJet’s chief in Scotland, said that the addition comes at a time when demand for flights to Holland is soaring. “Amsterdam will be our 15th route from Glasgow. (The flight) further demonstrates our commitment to the city and the region."

An earlier route from Glasgow to Amsterdam was cancelled six years ago, but easyJet does not expect its latest investment to share the same fate as its predecessor. The tangerine airline says that more than 85,000 passengers will use the route during its first year, a claim supported by the news that the three main Scottish airports, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, recently experienced a 5.8% increase in passenger numbers.

Dutch flag-carrier, KLM, already offers five flights between Glasgow and its native Amsterdam. However, according to Mr. Aitken, easyJet has no plans to compete directly with the blue and white airline. KLM’s routes from the UK to Holland feed passengers into Schiphol’s network of long-haul flights, whereas easyJet is hoping that its customers will opt to holiday within Amsterdam itself. The difference is subtle, but easyJet’s plans for its new route are merely hiding the fact that the Luton-based carrier does not offer any long-haul flights from Schiphol, or indeed, from any airport, and will in fact be taking passengers to KLM’s doorstep.

It should be noted that a connection between Scotland and Amsterdam is just as important for Dutch people as it is for Scots. Tourism website, Visit Scotland, claims that Loch Lomond, the Highlands, and the Trossachs National Park are very popular with travellers from Holland, who are “excellent repeat visitors”, to quote Aoife Desmond, manager of the website. Gordon Matheson, Glasgow City Council chief, was equally keen to promote the Scottish city as a destination for European visitors.

EasyJet’s new route begins on October 31 2011.

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